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Vaccine exemption/waiver in Connecticut or New York

(17 Posts)
Swimpy Thu 26-May-11 23:08:04

Please could anyone advise on if it is possible to obtain a vaccine exemption in these states? It is not for all vaccines as dc have had most of them, but I think you have to say that you are against vaccines per se, rather than just certain ones?

Has anyone obtained an exemption here? Is it easier to get one in New York or Connecticut? Does it make a difference if you send dc to private or public school and are some schools more sympathetic than other to this kind of thing? Or does it make no difference since you need to obtain the waiver from the state?

I am guessing that you can't just kind of fudge the issue as you can in the UK by not really replying to questions about immunization since they can say it is neglect (!?) if you haven't vaccinated your child?

Thanks very much in advance. I'm not sure where to look for advice since all US sites I've been on seem very divided on the vaccination matter (i.e. you are sensible and vaccinate or have no regard for humanity and don't) and don't really give any success stories or specific information.

chloeb2002 Tue 31-May-11 04:27:48

Presumably if your child is in a group that needs to be exempt then the doctors clarify that ? Otherwise they should be vaccinated?

nooka Tue 31-May-11 05:15:33

I don't know about Conneticut but in New York you have to provide evidence of vaccination, either through your medical records or that they have had the disease (my two had already had chickenpox which is otherwise vaccinated, and they had to have blood tests as we didn't have anything to prove they'd had it). Our experience is that the school wouldn't accept them until we had seen a pediatrician who signed to say that all vaccines had been completed (poor dcs also had to have a Hepatitis A jab).

Whether you can persuade the pediatrician that you have some valid conscientious objection to the vaccination may depend on who you see. I'm fairly sure that you won't be able to see anyone in the UK and have that be valid in the States as I think that you can only get the form from the school when you confirm that you live in the area. That will be different for private schools though. You don't get the waiver (if you can) from the State as all doctors are private (although the costs of vaccines are covered by the government). You'll also need to have annual pediatrician checks (include vaccinations) every year, both for school and for any out of school activities (summer camps etc).

MmeBlueberry Tue 31-May-11 06:59:30

Look at the department of education websites form those states, or at a few school districts.

If there are medical reasons for omitting specific vaccines, then it shouldn't be a problem.

Private schools are just as strict as public ones, ime.

MmeBlueberry Tue 31-May-11 07:04:57

This should be helpful:


louisea Tue 07-Jun-11 19:47:02

Take a look at

Yogagirl17 Wed 08-Jun-11 02:02:05

We just had to fill in medical forms for DD in NY State. They asked for DPT, Polio, Hib, MMR, Hep A & B, Chicken Pox, Pneumococcal, Meningitis, HPV, H1N1 & Seasonal Flu. Of these, DD had only had DPT, Polio, Hib, MMR & Meningitis and we had to provide copies of her vaccination record. She also had to have a blood test to prove she'd had chicken pox (called a varicella titre) but they didn't really care about the rest. They originally asked for Hep A & B but we were able to talk our way out of it. The ones they really won't budge on are MMR & Chicken Pox - they can simply refuse entry to school or camp.

Swimpy Wed 08-Jun-11 22:28:39

Thank you for all your posts. It doesn't really look that promising though, if you don't want to vaccinate against everything. It is MMR and Chickenpox that we object to, so the reasons are religious/philosophical (but there are no philosophical exemptions in these states. Chickenpox is not a problem as dc have had it and I made sure it was on their medical record, they have had the single measles jab and they may well have had rubella (it was diagnosed informally by the GP for one dc, but not the others, but I could have blood tests done to check immunity). So the main problem is mumps, which you can't get the single vaccine for.

Yogagirl - do you think they would budge on mumps alone? Also, do you mind me asking how you talked your way out of the Hep A and b and whether you experience is at a public or private school?

Does anyone know of anyone who has not vaccinated against these diseases and still gone to school?

giddybiddy Thu 09-Jun-11 10:44:10

Hi, we are moving to CT this summer and have the same issues as you Swimpy as we went the single vaccine route and I wasn't planning to give my DCs the mumps vaccine, though they have had measles and rubella. I understand however that I can sign a waiver form, and also that the mumps vaccine is available as a single one in CT, so I was planning to wait and see once I got there how strict everyone was... I haven't yet worked out what to do re the chicken pox as one has had it and the others haven't. I am guessing the Heb B/A might be a good idea and they are not 'live vaccines' as I understand it, but I need to look into more thoroughly. I would be interested to hear your experience if you get there before me or find anything else out!!

Yogagirl17 Fri 10-Jun-11 07:05:24

Swimpy, this was for camp not school although I think even schools have the right to refuse entry. I know a physician in NY who I have asked for some more info and will try to get back to you with the answer to some of your questions but ultimately he can only offer guidelines & you'll have to speak to the school or camp in question. You may be allowed a religious or medical exemption (ie if your DC has a condition which would make it more dangerous to have the vaccine than not) but not sure about a philosophical objection.

I initially had several conversations with the camp nurse, explaning that Hep A & B are not routinely given here and that our GP refused to provide it. We would have had to pay to have it done at a travel clinic. I also explained that DD had had chicken pox as a baby but we had no proof of this even though it was diagnosed by a doctor. The nurse eventually ended up getting advice from the chief medical officer of the local hospital. His replied that while the Hep vaccines were preferable they shouldn't refuse entry to camp without them but that there have been known outbreaks of chicken pox at camps in the last couple of years and would absolutely insist on proof - hence the varicella titre. I guess their feeling is that MMR & Chicken pox can put other kids at risk whereas the Hep vaccines only leaves my own child at risk. Seasonal Flu & H1N1 aren't as much of an issue in the summer obviously so not sure where schools will stand on that.

Swimpy Fri 10-Jun-11 21:47:42

Thanks very much for your information, giddybiddy and Yogagirl - that's really useful. I didn't realise that they require Hep A as well as Hep B, neither of which are vaccinated against in the UK, so I will have to think about that as well.

NY and CT only have medical or religious exemptions and I don't think I could get a medical one. I am a bit wary about speaking to the schools about it as I thought it might be best to try and keep it low-key - but maybe that's not possible.

Yogagirl, that's really helpful about the Hep vaccines, though it sounds like they might be harder to get out of for school rather than a camp? Thanks you very much for checking with the physician you know - that would be really helpful as I don't really understand how much this involves, the physician, the school and the state.

Giddybiddy, it's nice to hear of someone in the same kind of boat. If we go, it will not be until much later in the year or maybe next year, so I guess you will be there before me. I would be really interested to hear how it works out for you as I feel very strongly about this and it would be an influencing factor over which state to live in if there was a difference between the two (or maybe over whether to go at all). But I'm sure there will be a lot of other factors involved in that decision! I am interested to hear that you might even be able to get the single mumps vaccine in CT as I thought that there was a worldwide shortage as Merck had stopped manufacturing it, but if we can get it there it might be a solution to the problem!

It also sounds like poor dc may have to have a blood test to prove immunity to chickenpox, even though I made sure that the GP diagnosed it and recorded it on their medical records. I suppose while we got that done, they could also check for any of the unvaccinated diseases just in case they had had a subclinical version. (Unlikely, but here's hoping!)

Yogagirl17 Sat 11-Jun-11 13:19:51

Just to say still waiting to hear back from physician, think he is away this weekend.

Swimpy Mon 13-Jun-11 21:11:15

Thanks, Yogagirl. No rush!

Yogagirl17 Wed 15-Jun-11 07:23:18

Only feedback I was able to get was that single measles, mups & rubella vaccines are not available and they will most likely insist on your child having the MMR. Laws in both NY & CT do state that you can get an exemption for a "genuine religious belief" - I would imagine this would require proof of some sort (ie signed statement by your religoius leader etc). No philosophical objections are allowed in those states. The link louisea provided above looks helpful.

nooka Wed 15-Jun-11 07:37:39

If you have proof of chickenpox recorded on medical records you shouldn't need to have the titre test too. We were told that photographs of obviously 'poxed' children would also work. For the jabs that aren't given in the UK you will just be expected to have them in the States, where they are free. We were told getting the first course of Hep A was fine for starting school, although obviously they expected s to make sure the children got the full course.

MistyB Wed 15-Jun-11 08:02:09

You could try posting on an anti vaccination site for more information. Members on the Arnica Group might be able to help or put you in touch with an American group.

Swimpy Sun 19-Jun-11 11:01:37

Thank you very much everyone. It doesn't look like it is at all easy to avoid vaccinating if you don't want to. I think chickenpox will be ok as I took DC to the GP and took photos of them just in case! I might try contacting Arnica, though - it looks like there is a group near to me, so I might be able to find someone who has lived in the US.

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